Leading the green shipping agenda

As more protests hit the streets of London this week, attention again turns to how we will tackle climate change. We have seen some real leadership from the UK government in the last few years and British expertise has been at the forefront of clean energy and global efforts to fight climate change.

Right here in the UK we have cut our emissions by over 40 per cent – faster than any other G20 country – while growing our economy by more than two thirds. This is a great start, but we know we need to do more.

And I am determined that the shipping industry, which I represent here in the UK, will do all it can to reduce its emissions.

Maritime transport is already one of the most sustainable ways of moving people and goods.

Shipping is 6 times more efficient than trucks and over 40 times more efficient than a freight aircraft as a mode of transport. So shipping has a good story to tell, but we know we can do more.

We need to utilise the best and the brightest in our industry to develop the green technologies of tomorrow. We need a green industrial revolution.

Earlier this year the Department for Transport launched its Maritime 2050 strategy and its Clean Maritime Plan. This has set a clear pathway for industry and government to work together to innovate, develop new greener, cleaner technologies.

The Clean Maritime Plan will require all-new ships trading in UK waters, both international and domestic, to be designed with zero-emission capable technologies. The targets set are a huge challenge.

It is a challenge because the technologies needed to achieve the 2050 target do not currently exist at a scale or in a form which is commercially viable, especially for long voyages. And so, to achieve this target, I believe we need a green industrial revolution which will harness the best talents we have across this maritime nation.

We will need concerted R & D activity, led and incentivised by government, and supported by the industry, manufacturers, academics and innovators.

We will need industry to formulate new plans and co-ordinate work better. And we will need investment in skills, research and innovation so we can utilise our world class universities and research centres.

I personally see this as a great opportunity for the UK, and our shipping industry, to step up to the mark, and, once again, be a global leader in areas with massive growth potential. 

Underpinning the government’s commitment to clean maritime is Maritime Research and Innovation UK – or MarRI-UK.  The government has pledged £1 million to find innovative ways to reduce maritime emissions. A small, but important step.

But we need to build on this. We need to work together to develop the new technologies of tomorrow, today. Government, academia and industry working hand-in-glove to make the UK a world leader in clean technologies.

The world is warming too quickly. We all know that; the science is clear. And if we are to tackle the greatest challenge of our generation, we need a green industrial revolution which encourages better co-ordination between industry, entrepreneurs and academia.

The UK has already shown great leadership in becoming the first nation to commit to net-zero by 2050. By working together, I believe the UK can lead the world as a forward looking, innovative, maritime nation.  

For more information contact:

Bob Sanguinetti

Chief Executive

020 7417 2842

bsanguinetti@ukchamberofshipping.com